William Blake

Overview

William Blake is known as one of the nineteenth century's greatest poets and prophets of the imagination. This new volume from the Bloom's Classic Critical Views series examines his poetry-including Jerusalem, Milton, and The Four Zoas-with selections of the best criticism from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
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Overview

William Blake is known as one of the nineteenth century's greatest poets and prophets of the imagination. This new volume from the Bloom's Classic Critical Views series examines his poetry-including Jerusalem, Milton, and The Four Zoas-with selections of the best criticism from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Harold Bloom of The Western Canon (1994) who created such literary huffs and puffs, here gives his imprimatur to a series of biographical and critical collections based on his writers of choice. Bloom's general introduction is followed by a Blake-specific one, primarily concerned with defining Bloom's interpretation of "canon." Would that he had stopped there, for when he focuses on William Blake's two poems, "London" and "Tyger," Bloom's exegesis is so involuted that he manages to destroy every shred of poetic feeling—till both terror and joy have vanished from Blake's visionary poems. The series, then, is obviously keyed to beginning hardcore literary students. Getting past Bloom's introductions, the book also contains a brief biography of Blake and a selection of essays on his work—one dealing with Blake's art, although no visual examples are given. The title concludes with a good chronology of the writer's life, source material, and an index.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780791068120
  • Publisher: Chelsea House Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: Bloom's Major Poets Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom
One of our most popular, respected, and controversial literary critics, Yale University professor Harold Bloom’s books – about, variously, Shakespeare, the Bible, and the classic literature – are as erudite as they are accessible.

Biography

"Authentic literature doesn't divide us," the scholar and literary critic Harold Bloom once said. "It addresses itself to the solitary individual or consciousness." Revered and sometimes reviled as a champion of the Western canon, Bloom insists on the importance of reading authors such as Shakespeare, Milton, and Chaucer -- not because they transmit certain approved cultural values, but because they transcend the limits of culture, and thus enlarge rather than constrict our sense of what it means to be human. As Bloom explained in an interview, "Shakespeare is the true multicultural author. He exists in all languages. He is put on the stage everywhere. Everyone feels that they are represented by him on the stage."

Bloom began his career by tackling the formidable legacy of T.S. Eliot, who had dismissed the English Romantic poets as undisciplined nature-worshippers. Bloom construed the Romantic poets' visions of immortality as rebellions against nature, and argued that an essentially Romantic imagination was still at work in the best modernist poets.

Having restored the Romantics to critical respectability, Bloom advanced a more general theory of poetry. His now-famous The Anxiety of Influence argued that any strong poem is a creative "misreading" of the poet's predecessor. The book raised, as the poet John Hollander wrote, "profound questions about... how the prior visions of other poems are, for a true poet, as powerful as his own dreams and as formative as his domestic childhood." In addition to developing this theory, Bloom wrote several books on sacred texts. In The Book of J, he suggested that some of the oldest parts of the Bible were written by a woman.

The Book of J was a bestseller, but it was the 1994 publication of The Western Canon that made the critic-scholar a household name. In it, Bloom decried what he called the "School of Resentment" and the use of political correctness as a basis for judging works of literature. His defense of the threatened canon formed, according to The New York Times, a "passionate demonstration of why some writers have triumphantly escaped the oblivion in which time buries almost all human effort."

Bloom placed Shakespeare along with Dante at the center of the Western canon, and he made another defense of Shakespeare's centrality with Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, an illuminating study of Shakespeare's plays. How to Read and Why (2000) revisited Shakespeare and other writers in the Bloom pantheon, and described the act of reading as both a spiritual exercise and an aesthetic pleasure.

Recently, Bloom took up another controversial stance when he attacked Harry Potter in an essay for The Wall Street Journal. His 2001 book Stories and Poems for Extremely Intelligent Children of All Ages advanced an alternative to contemporary children's lit, with a collection of classic works of literature "worthy of rereading" by people of all ages.

The poet and editor David Lehman said that "while there are some critics who are known for a certain subtlety and a certain judiciousness, there are other critics... who radiate ferocious passion." Harold Bloom is a ferociously passionate reader for whom literary criticism is, as he puts it, "the art of making what is implicit in the text as finely explicit as possible."

Good To Know

Bloom earned his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1955 and was hired as a Yale faculty member that same year. In 1965, at the age of 35, he became one of the youngest scholars in Yale history to be appointed full professor in the department of English. He is now Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale and Berg Visiting Professor of English at New York University.

Though some conservative commentators embraced Bloom's canon as a return to traditional moral values, Bloom, who once styled himself "a Truman Democrat," dismisses attempts by both left- and right-wingers to politicize literature. "To read in the service of any ideology is not, in my judgment, to read at all," he told a New York Times interviewer.

His great affinity for Shakespeare has put Bloom in the unlikely position of stage actor on occasion; he has played his "literary hero," port-loving raconteur Sir John Falstaff, in three productions.

Bloom is married to Jeanne, a retired school psychologist whom he met while a junior faculty member at Yale in the 1950s. They have two sons.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Harold Irving Bloom (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York and New Haven, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      July 11, 1930
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Cornell University, 1951; Ph.D., Yale University, 1955

Table of Contents


Series Introduction     vii
Introduction   Harold Bloom     ix
Biography     xv
Personal     3
"Letter to Thomas Johnes" (1806)   Benjamin Heath Malkin     7
Charles Lamb (1824)     10
Henry Crabb Robinson (1825-26)     11
"The Life of William Blake" (1832)   Frederick Tatham     17
Samuel Palmer (1855)     20
Seymour Kirkup (1870)     24
"William Blake" (1880-81)   Dante Gabriel Rossetti     25
General     27
"William Blake" (1830)   Allan Cunningham     34
Anna Jameson (1848)     34
Walter Thornbury (1861)     35
"Supplementary" (1863)   Dante Gabriel Rossetti     36
"Pictor Ignotus" (1864)   Mary Abigail Dodge     37
"The Prophetic Books" (1866)   Algernon Charles Swinburne     38
Moncure D. Conway (1868)     43
"William Blake" (1869)   James Smetham     48
"Blake's Songs and Political Sketches" (1869)   Charles Eliot Norton     49
"William Blake" (1880)   J. Comyns Carr     51
Margaret Oliphant (1882)     55
"Blake" (1889)   Coventry Patmore     57
Richard Henry Stoddard (1892)     60
W.B. Yeats and Edwin J. Ellis (1893)     61
Lionel Johnson (1893)     73
Alfred T. Story (1893)     78
J.J. Jusserand (1894)     82
"William Blake" (1895)   John Vance Cheney     82
Stopford A. Brooke (1896)     85
George Saintsbury (1896)     86
"Academy Portraits: XXXII. William Blake" (1897)   W.B. Yeats     89
G.K. Chesterton (1910)     93
Works     99
"The Poems of William Blake" (1864)   James Thomson     104
"Imperfect Genius: William Blake" (1876)   Henry G. Hewlett     119
"A Phase of William Blake's Romanticism" (1893)   Lucy Allen Paton     125
"William Blake" (1896)   A.C. Benson     131
"The Poetry of William Blake" (1900)   Henry Justin Smith     134
"Bibliographical Preface to the Songs of Innocence and of Experience," and "Bibliographical Preface to Poems from the 'Prophetic Books'" (1905)   John Sampson     149
G.K. Chesterton (1910)     157
"America," "Europe," "The Book of Los," and "Milton" (1926)   D.J. Sloss    J.P.R. Wallis     159
"Two Examples" (1927)   Max Plowman     179
"A Note on William Blake's Book of Urizen" (1929)   Dorothy Plowman     191
Chronology     205
Index     207
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